THE words and actions of Jesus have long been exploited and bastardised by politicians of all colours.
No other spiritual leader’s teaching has been so used, and abused, as political fodder.
To the religious Right, Jesus has been depicted as a conservative who detests gay people and Hip Hop. To the liberals, Jesus has been painted as a tree-loving pacifist. And probably a vegetarian.
Neither view seems to be based on what he actually said and did.
Jesus of Nazareth said His kingdom was not in this world. But the philosophy he preached transformed world political systems.
Political analyst Tod Lindberg, in his book, The Political Teachings of Jesus, sees the man from Nazareth as a profound thinker and a man of great political insight. He says his teachings are the “unacknowledged bedrock’’ of the modern world and the basis of democracy.
Under Jesus’ philosophy, everyone has free will to choose their own destinies. It is the ultimate democracy.
Lindberg proclaims the simple genius of the Golden Rule – Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. It is the ethical core of Jesus teachings
Lindberg says the philosophy offers a coherent account of how to live in the world. More importantly, it is a “revolution in the idea of freedom’’.
Observing the rule requires us to see others as our equals deserving of equal rights and dignity. It requires us all to be part of a community of goodwill.
Lindberg points out that there are variations of The Golden Rule in other religious philosophies. But they are generally stated negatively – don’t do to someone else what you dont want done to you. Jesus philosophy is positive. And, Lindberg says, offers a greater range of possibility for mutually beneficial interaction than any other philosophy.